FRAMINGHAM – Rev. Dr. Hugo “Holly” J. Hollerorth, long time member of the First Parish in Framingham, died on September 22, 2019, at the age of 94.
A celebration of Hugo’s life will take place at 1 pm on Saturday, November 16, 2019, at First Parish.
Hugo was born on June 6, 1925 in Jefferson City, MO to Hugo John and Rose Johannah. He graduated from Northwestern University, IL in 1946 with a Bachelor of Science in business, following which he received his two degrees – a Bachelor of Divinity in 1949, and a Master of Arts in 1965, both from the University of Chicago, IL. In 1985, Hugo earned his Doctor of Education (EdD) from New York University.
Later in 2005, Meadville Lombard Theological School awarded him an honorary Doctor of Divinity.
Rev. Dr. Hollerorth was ordained in 1949. He served as the Minister of Education at the Central Unitarian Church of Paramus, NJ, from 1959 to 1961; and as an Associate Professor of Religious Education at St. Lawrence School (Universalist), Canton, NY, from 1961 to 1965.
Then in 1965, he joined UUA as the Director of Curriculum Development, where he served until 1980. During this tenure, Rev. Dr. Hollerorth developed educational programs for children, youths and adults for use in Unitarian Universalist churches and fellowships across the continent. He launched a new curriculum series intended to enable children and youth to “evolve a life-enhancing orientation to the world.”
Based on the discovery learning method the new series was “grounded in the conviction that the most effective learning occurs when children have an opportunity to intuit principles for themselves from concrete experiences in their daily lives.” The curriculum “kits,” included visuals, books, filmstrips, audiotapes, puzzles, illustrations, games, music, and other materials and strategies to bring the curricula alive for children and youth with diverse learning styles.
In the late 1960s, Rev. Dr. Hollerorth shepherded the creation and publication of a About Your Sexuality (AYS), a sexuality education curriculum kit by Deryck Calderwood for junior high youth (grades 7 and 8).
Created in response to requests from parents and religious educators for materials that would help young people navigate this area against the backdrop of the sexual revolution of the 1960s, AYS included topics that other secular curricula did not. In the curriculum description, Hollerorth wrote: “Employing the full range of human knowledge about human sexuality; creative interaction with each other in a relationship of freedom, love, sensitivity, and so on; and diversity of thought, young people attempt to evolve a life-enhancing orientation to their sexuality.” About Your Sexuality, revised and supplemented over the years, remained in print until it was replaced by Our Whole Lives. The curriculum laid the groundwork for what is a vital piece of Unitarian Universalist faith development to this day.
In addition to his ministry, Hugo belonged to several community organizations. From 1975 to 1980, he was a workshop leader in human sexuality for Boston Family Service and several private secondary schools. He was a member of the HEW Federal Government Task Force on Education for Human Sexuality (1977). He was a Health Curriculum Specialist at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, MA.
Beginning in the 1990’s, Hugo was involved with the Southern Middlesex Opportunity Council. He first served on the staff. Then after retiring, he served on the Board. While on the Board he wrote “Building a Culture of Care: The Ongoing Saga of the South Middlesex Opportunity Council” which looks at the origins, history and evolution of the organization. Hugo served the military and was an honorable discharge recipient.
In his spare time, Hugo enjoyed travel, home decorating, biking, politics, and films.
Hugo is survived by his daughter Rachel Buerlen; and his grandchildren Holly Buerlen, Jason Buerlen, and Nicole Hunter, and his great grandchildren Kairi and Dominic.